By Karen Stone Mickool

On the side of a New York City building that stretches a full block in both directions, the lights come up as dusk falls to illuminate one word…. The building, of course is the iconic Macy’s Department Store and the word—outlined in lights and tinsel—BELIEVE

This might be the single most powerful word in the English language! Imagine what can be accomplished if you just…


That’s powerful stuff…

BELIEVE in what?  You ask….

Ah, now that’s not quite as simple… or maybe it is…

BELIEVE… in your dreams, your goals, your ideals, your people, your vision, your mentors, your clients, your products, your services, your challenges, your accomplishments, your strategies, your ideas, and your opportunities….

Or put another way…. Believe in yourself!  (– or — just BELIEVE)

I’ve been Christmas shopping for my great niece, Layla this week.  She was born on my birthday to terrific parents who have already instilled in her a love of books.  I wanted to send her a new book and I found myself shopping the classics… and thinking about the vast wisdom of the characters that I grew up with.

 “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”  

– M. Barrie, Peter Pan

While believing might not get you ALL the way to your goal, not believing is pretty much a guarantee!  Not so sure about the business savvy of Peter Pan? How about Henry Ford?  Ford’s famous for the line,  “if you think you can’t or you think you can, you are right!”—See what I just did there!  Maybe Peter Pan was smarter than we think!

Now, I understand that many of us think we aren’t hard-wired that way!  I hear all those objections coming out loud and clear!  I know, I know….those other guys are smarter or more driven or better educated than you are! You are skeptical and full of doubts and you couldn’t possibly let go all of that to just BELIEVE!  Ugh!  Humans!!!  —– One of my favorite children’s authors is the inestimable, Roald Dahl.  His ability to weave a story out of every day moments and outrageous circumstances with the most colorful of characters has always charmed me.  (Hmmm….every day moments, outrageous circumstances, colorful characters….sounds a little like your business, no???)  But back to my point…

In The BFG (The Big, Friendly Giant, if you’re not familiar), the BFG says,

“The matter with human beans is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything, unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles”.  

– Roald Dahl, The BFG

Sound like anyone you know?  It certainly is for many of the folks I’ve worked with over the years.  So, what if we could get people to do a little more BELIEVING and a little less doubting??  I can’t help but believe that would be a good thing!!

Now, I know I am asking a lot of you… I want you to just let go and believe and I understand that can be a scary thing to do! And having the courage to take risks isn’t about NOT being afraid…

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”

– Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz

OK, I’m on board… I BELIEVE in my goal, I have courage and confidence and I am all set to go!  This sounds pretty easy… and…. NOT so fast…

It may be simple—but I never said anything about EASY!

Another of my favorite from children’s literature is C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.   Much has been made of the parables of this series and I won’t go there, except to say that Aslan, the lion, is one of the greatest characters ever written for children.  He is the guy who’s worked in your industry forever—whom everyone looks to for advice, rolled up with your favorite uncle and your best friend all in one.  Plus he gets all the good lines!

“All shall be done,” said Aslan. “But it may be harder than you think.”

– S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Oh, yes, my friends, it will be MUCH harder than you think!  Because it always is and it always will be and there will be days when you want to just stay home in bed, under the covers (and with hot chocolate!).

But you won’t…

Because here’s the thing—the only way to get where you want to go is to just keep going!

And how do you get there?  Wise words from the infamous, Winnie The Pooh, of course…

“Always, Remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

– A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to “fake it ‘til you make it!  When you are having one of those “maybe-I-will-stay-in-bed-today” days, shake it off, reach down deep, crawl out on the skinny branches and stay there!   These are the days that you will remember the most, especially as a leader!  They will shine in your memories, sparkle in your recollections!  The day you pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat!

And there will be lots of days like that—BELIEVE it!  Because our colleague, Barb Moses, from High5 Leadership likes to say,

“You can choose to believe in anything you want, so why wouldn’t you choose to believe in yourself?”

Have a WONDERFUL, MAGICAL, JOYFUL holiday season!

– Karen Stone Mickool
When you pivot, the team keeps playing!

P.S.  Need some help with creating a culture of believing? Let’s talk. Call me at 843-597-6393.

P.P.S. Need some additional inspiration from modern leaders who know how to shift their cultures to success? Listen to The Pivotal Leader podcast, now on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Store.


Karen Stone MickoolCulture Curation Specialist with Pivot10 Results, has an extensive background in Human Resources, Organization and Leadership Development, Coaching and Management Development in a wide variety of environments. Prior to her corporate career, Karen spent over ten years providing Leadership Development and Student Services on college campuses. Karen then held strategic positions with The Bank of New York, Fleet Boston (now Bank of America), Southco Engineering, AIG Marketing, and the Coca Cola Company. She has managed human resources departments, designed and delivered global leadership programs, implemented corporate wide succession planning and change management initiatives, and provided coaching and development to senior executives, higher education leaders and front line management.

Karen is a Master Graduate of the Discover Leadership Program, was a Master Trainer for Achieve Global (now MHI Global), and is certified in a number of other development programs and assessments including DiSC®, Lominger Leadership Architect, and MBTI.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Higher Education and Student Personnel Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Delaware. 

Her specialties include Executive Coaching, Performance Management, Strategic Planning, Employee Relations, Project Management, Global Succession Planning, Change Management, Human Resources Compliance, HR Outsourcing, Talent Search & Recruiting, Career Transition, Leadership Development, and Organizational Design.

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About the author

Gina Trimarco is a native of Chicago and CEO/Founder of Pivot10 Results and Carolina Improv Company. She has 25+ years of experience in marketing, sales, operations and people training. Gina combines street smarts and improv comedy skills with her experience in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, which sets her apart from her competition.

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